October 14, 2008

Dreading this year’s oil bills, my husband and I took the plunge and did what I’m always suggesting to my clients – we had insulation installed in our attic and parts of our basement.  We have a 1796 house that leaks ‘like a sieve’ and decided to take a stab at improving it.  The roof is the most important place to start as most heat-loss and gain happens there.

Our attic…..before.  Nothing in the rafter spaces and old batt insulation and loose cellulose at the attic floor.  We wanted to use soy-based insulation, which provides a great ‘R value’, has the ability to move into the many gaps in our old house, and is primarily made with renewable materials, see to learn more.

We talked to our friends at The Green Cocoon, and they estimate that with this additional insulation, the investment should pay for itself in just two years.

Jim Materkowski from the GreenCocoon installed soy spray foam insulation – he was at the house for about a day.  The foam sprays on like shaving cream, expands and hardens.

The ‘finished’ product!  The attic is too low to ever use as a finished space, so we asked that Jim give us the thickest installation possible.  If we were going to add drywall to the rafters, he’d have to cut back the insulation for a smooth finish.  Contact for more information.


2 Responses to “Insulate!!!”

  1. Mark Osorio Says:

    Hi Juli! Great Blog.

    It’s cool that you can use this on a roof structure that’s old and irregular. Doing any kind of conventional in batt or rigid foam foam would have been terribly wasteful and not at all airtight or efficient.

    More home owners should be doing this kind of work but without some knowledge of how the products behave it would be easy for someone to make a disastrous mistakes. I had a similar problem in my little rental house. The building, at about 110 years, is old by Chicago Standards and not terribly far from the address of Mrs O’leary’s fateful barn. The interior was poorly remodeled in the 70’s and any interior “charm” is long gone. Someday it will warrant a proper gut remodeling but the heating bills where astronomical and I needed to insulate the unfinished attic space and finish it to gain additional (rent able) area. I decided against the expanding foam because there is a considerable dip in the floor and roof framing that someday, someone with more resources then I, may want to correct by jacking up and leveling the ground floor center beam up. I learned that that doing so would likely damage the roof structure one the rigid foam was in place so I went with two layers of a foil faced bubble wrap product sandwiching blown in cellulose. Labor intensive and not as quite as high a rating as the foam but more flexible for future modifications.

    Without an architect of knowledgeable contractor it would be easy for a home owner to make the wrong choice. It’s good that you and Steven combine the knowledge of the architect and the experience of the contractor.


    Mark J Osorio

  2. Interesting thoughts on this one.

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